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  Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department
 Collection: Office of Technology Assessment
Policies and procedures of the Office of Technology Assessment : communication with Congress and the public
A manual for OTA employees, providing guidance for drafting proposals and reports. Includes standards and procedures for communicating with Congress.
The Regulatory environment for science
This technical memorandum, requested by the Task Force on Science Policy of the House Committee on Science and Technology, provides a “snapshot” of factors affecting science in the 1980s, and focuses on emerging issues that will require consideration by Congress.
Research funding as an investment: can we measure the returns?
A report on the mounting intensity of global competition in the 1980s that underscores the critical role played by the basic research enterprise of the United States. Basic research is the backbone of much of the technological development that has provided not only our economic prosperity, but improvements in health, a strong national defense, and exciting and fundamental advances in knowledge.
A Review of U.S. competitiveness in agricultural trade
This OTA technical memorandum reviews key factors that influence U.S. trade in agriculture. It is part of a larger OTA project that analyzes the effects of technological change on both international trade and the structure of the domestic economy. Despite basic structural changes in the economy of the United States in recent years, agriculture and food production remain important parts of this country’s economic framework.
Technology Dependent Children: Hospital Vs. Home Care
This technical memorandum is about problems arising out of success. Recent advances in medical technology have permitted sick children who once would have died to survive with the assistance of sophisticated equipment and intensive nursing care. Often, the assistance is needed for just a short time, but sometimes the dependence on life-sustaining technology is permanent. As technology for helping keep children alive has improved, a new population of technology-dependent children has emerged.
Elementary and Secondary Education for Science and Engineering
Students make many choices over a long period, and choose a career through a complicated process. This process includes formal instruction in mathematics and science, and the opportunity for informal education in museums, science centers, and recreational programs. The influence of family, teachers, peers, and the electronic media can make an enormous difference. This memorandum analyzes these influences. Because education is “all one system, ” policymakers interested in nurturing scientists and engineers must address the educational environment as a totality; changing only one part of the system will not yield the desired result.
Marine Applications for Fuel Cell Technology
A report on fuel cell technology is one of the most promising of the new electric power technologies currently undergoing development. Fuel cell power systems have attracted attention because of their potential for high efficiency, low emissions, flexible use of fuels, and quietness. The Federal Government and the private sector have been funding fuel cell R&D for more than 20 years. The state-of-the-art has advanced to the point that fuel cell manufacturers hope to begin marketing fuel cells in just a few years. Full-scale demonstration plants are currently being designed.
New structural materials technologies: opportunities for the use of advanced ceramics and composites
This memorandum is part of a larger assessment which will address the impact of advanced structural materials on the competitiveness of the U.S. manufacturing sector, and offer policy options for accelerating the commercial utilization of these materials.
Reducing Launch Operation Costs: New Technologies and Practices
This technical memorandum explains, the United States has spent relatively little effort in applying them to operations. Just as important as cost saving technologies are appropriate management methods, or strategies, to put these technologies to work. In some cases, OTA has found, cost savings could be achieved by streamlining operations and reducing the burden of documentation and reporting requirements that have slowly expanded over the years.
Review of Postal Automation Strategy: A Technical and Decision Analysis
A memorandum by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that reviews the "United States Postal Service (USPS) decision to utilizes single-line optical character readers (OCRs) instead of multi-line OCRs" and conducts "a comparative technical and economic analysis of the two technologies in the context of the overall postal automation program" (Foreward).
Commercial newsgathering from space
This technical memorandum concludes that although the technology is available to create a mediasat system, the high cost and current low demand for remotely sensed data will limit media efforts to own and operate a dedicated remote sensing satellite system.
Insider's Guide to OTA
An informal orientation to the OTA. Addresses new employees' frequently asked questions; intended as a complimentary document to the official Employee Handbook.
Remotely Sensed Data: Technology, Management and Markets
This report examines U.S. plans for managing the prodigious quantities of data expected from current, planned, and future remote sensing satellites. In particular, it explores the Earth Observing System Data and Information System, which NASA is developing to manage and process the data from its Earth Observing System of satellites. It also analyzes the factors affecting the growth of the market for privately generated remotely sensed data.
Public Information About Osteoporosis: What's Available, What's Needed?
This paper describes the existing public information about osteoporosis and discusses problems that limit its usefulness, including problems in the dissemination and targeting of information to different types of people who have or are at risk of the disease. It also discusses problems that arise because of the way research findings are presented in the mass media and the widespread dissemination of information about medications that are available on the market but have not been approved by the FDA for osteoporosis.
Technologies for Understanding and Preventing Substance Abuse and Addiction
This report has four parts. The first part focuses on several factors that are necessary for substance abuse and addiction to occur, including an examination of the biological research regarding the phenomenon of addiction to a variety of substances. The second part describes individual risk and protective factors that contribute to the abuse of, and addiction to, alcohol and drugs. The third part, looks at how risk and protective factors play out in subcultures and in major activity settings (home, school, workplace, and recreation), and assesses the effectiveness of various substance abuse prevention initiatives. The fourth section, addresses a range of legislative issues and options for Congress arising from an understanding of the factors leading to substance abuse and addiction.
Psychiatric Disabilities, Employment and the Americans With Disabilities Act
The report focuses on mental disabilities, a broad rubric. In this background paper, OTA examines current knowledge about psychiatric disabilities and employment in the context of the ADA’s requirements and reviews Federal activities directly or indirectly aimed at supporting the ADA’s employment provisions.
The Department of Defense Kuwait Oil Health Fire Risk Assessment (The "Persian Gulf Veterans' Registry")
This paper describes briefly the work on DoD’s Kuwait Oil Fire Health Risk Assessment to date, including the results of a pilot study of health risks, and then answers the questions addressed to OTA in PL 102-585.
Saving Energy in U.S. Transportation
This report focuses on energy use in U.S. transportation, which accounts for over 60 percent of U.S. oil consumption. The report attempts to put these opinions into context by examining the current status of the system and evaluating critical problems such as congestion, presenting forecasts of future energy use, making some pointed comparisons with European transportation, and describing and evaluating a range of options for saving energy.
Tools for Evaluating Health Technologies: Five Background Papers
This paper deals with one of the most basic questions in any health research endeavor: how to measure the outcomes associated with whatever is being studied. The paper describes in greater detail some of the research techniques discussed.
Technical Options for the Advanced Liquid Metal Reactor
This paper discusses the history and status of the ALMR research program. It presents applications of this technology to the plutonium disposition problem and the possible advantages and disadvantages of its future development and deployment. It also discusses related issues such as waste management and concerns about proliferation of plutonium material.
Review of the Medical Follow-Up Agency
This Background Paper summarizes OTA’s findings with regard to the three questions asked based on the workshop discussion as well as background information and discussions with various individuals before and after the workshop.
Enhanced Oil Recovery Potential in the United States
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) assessing "the potential of enhanced recovery techniques for freeing more of this oil [discovered oil] from the sandstone and limestone formations in which it is trapped" (Foreward).
Applications of R&D in the Civil Sector: The Opportunity Provided by the Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act of 1977
An assessment by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) of the national research and development (R&D) activities with the intent of " to maximize the beneficial impacts of our total R&D enterprise" (p. iii).
Strategic Materials: Technologies to Reduce U.S. Import Vulnerability
A study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "assesses the technical alternatives to continued reliance on southern Africa and the U.S.S.R. for strategic metals" (p. iii).
Reproductive Health Hazards in the Workplace
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "reviews current knowledge of hazards and suspected hazards to the reproductive health of American's working men and women and to the health and well-being of their children" (Foreword).
Superfund Strategy
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that looks at "problems with long-term containment of newly generated hazardous wastes" in relation to the Superfund program (p. iii).
Review of the Public Health Service's Response to AIDS
A review by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) of "the recent and proposed activities of the Public Health Service (PHS) in response to AIDS" and an evaluation of "the planning, resources and staffing of PHS's efforts to control AIDS" (p. iii).
Research and Development in the Maritime Industry: A Supplement to an Assessment of Maritime Trade and Technology
An analysis by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that evaluates "long-term trends in global seaborne trade and maritime technology in relation to the U.S. maritime industry" (p. 3).
Life-Sustaining Technologies and the Elderly
A report on OTA has conducted a study of a wide range of topics, some of which have recently been receiving a great deal of scrutiny inside and outside the government. In order to derive information specific enough to guide possible congressional action and to be responsive to the requesting Committees, this examination of the issues is specifically tied to particular life-sustaining technologies and their use with patients who are elderly. At the same time, much of this information is applicable to life-sustaining technology in general and to citizens of all ages.
International competition in services: banking building software know-how--
The international competitiveness of American firms in most manufacturing industries has been in decline, in large part because of growing competence in other parts of the world. As this assessment shows, the United States remains highly competitive in many service industries, But trade in services will remain small compared to trade in goods, and many of the benefits from foreign investments by American service firms accrue to the host nations where U.S.-based banks, insurance companies, accounting firms, and other suppliers of services do business, Services cannot right the Nation’s trade balance, even granting the many ways in which a strongly competitive service sector benefits the competitiveness of American manufacturing firms.
New developments in biotechnology: ownership of human tissues and cells
In this special report, OTA analyzes the economic, legal, and ethical rights of the human sources of tissues and cells and also those of the physicians or researchers who obtain and develop these biological materials. The study describes the potential of three rapidly moving technologies (tissue and cell culture, cell fusion to produce monoclonal antibodies, and recombinant DNA) for manipulating human tissues and cells to yield commercially valuable products. The report includes a range of options for congressional action related to commercialization of human biological materials, regulation of research with human subjects, and disclosure of physicians’ commercial interest in patient treatment.
The Implications of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Medical Technology: Background Paper 2: Case Studies of Medical Technologies: Case Study 14: Cost Benefit/Cost Effectiveness of Medical Technologies: A Case Study of Orthopedic Joint Implants
A study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) with the purpose of "the feasibility and potential usefulness of undertaking cost-effectiveness/cost-benefit analysis (CEA/CBA) of orthopedic joint prostheses" (p. 3).
The Implications of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Medical Technology: Background Paper 2: Case Studies of Medical Technologies: Case Study 11: Benefit-And-Cost Analysis of Medical Interventions: The Case of Cimetidine and Peptic Ulcer Disease
A case study prepared by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "presents a conceptual model for assessing the benefits and costs of medical technology, and uses this model as a framework for analyzing the benefits and costs of cimetidine in the treatment of peptic ulcer disease" (p. 3)
An Assessment of the United States Food and Agricultural Research System
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that addresses issues of "the roles of the research participants, long-range research priority planning, funding for research, and the organizational structure of the food and agricultural research organizations" as they relate to increasing demands on agricultural resources (p. iii).
Cost Effectiveness of Influenza Vaccination
A study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "evaluates influenza vaccination on the basis of another criterion-cost effectiveness"
An Assessment of Technology for Local Development
A study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "addresses the question of local development and the opportunities for-and appropriateness of-various technologies that can help local people to take advantage of local resources in meeting the needs of their own communities" (p. iii).
The Implications of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Medical Technology: Background Paper 2: Case Study 15: Elective Hysterectomy: Costs, Risks, and Benefits
A study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that looks takes the approach that "hysterectomies that are performed for indications that could be treated by alternative therapies or by no therapy at all, with fewer resultant health risks to the woman and lower economic costs in general" (p. 3).
Computer-Based National Information Systems: Technology and Public Policy Issues
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "presents the results of an overview study on the use of computer technology in national information systems and related public policy issues" (p. iii).
The Implications of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Medical Technology: Background Paper 2: Case Studies of Medical Technologies: Case Study 1: Formal Analysis, Policy Formulation, and End-Stage Renal Disease
A study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that analyzes "two instances of the use of formal analysis in the formulation of Federal Government policy for end-stage renal disease (ESRD)" (p. 3).
Losing a million minds: confronting the tragedy of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias
This report involves collection of more than 10)000 pages of existing documents and preparation of more than 40 papers by outside experts under contract to OTA. Many of the OTA contract reports have been released to the National Technical Information Service or published elsewhere.
Studies of the Environmental Costs of Electricity
This report examines a set of environmental cost studies, compares and contrasts their methods and assumptions, and discusses how they could be made more useful to federal policy makers.
Climate Treaties and Models: Issues in the International Management of Climate Change
This paper seeks to place the issue of climate change within an international context. Specifically, it addresses the feasibility of forging treaty agreements among countries to achieve significant worldwide reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases.
Hip Fracture Outcomes in People Age 50 and Over
This background paper is one of four documents resulting from OTA’s study of policy issues in the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis.
Export Controls and Nonproliferation Policy
The primary purpose of this report is to identify options for enhancing the effectiveness of export controls in slowing or preventing the spread of capabilities to develop and produce weapons of mass destruction.
Identifying Health Technologies That Work: Searching for Evidence
The purpose of this report is to examine two crucial questions: 1. What are we getting out of this investment? 2. How can we improve it?
Federal Research and Technology for Aviation
This report focuses on research and technology policy issues for aviation operations: safety, security, environmental protection, and the air traffic system.
Energy Efficiency in Federal Facilities: Update on Funding and Potential Savings
There are two longstanding constraints to implementing more energy efficient practices: 1) a shortage of finds to invest in efficient equipment; and 2) a lack of information for program planning and budgeting about the extent of investment opportunities and about the best finding mechanisms. This paper reviews advances made in addressing these constraints since 1991.
Neonatal intensive care for low birthweight infants: costs and effectiveness
The purpose of this report is to provide OTA with specific information that can be used in forming general conclusions regarding broader policy issues. The first 19 cases in the Health Technology Case Study Series, for example, were conducted in conjunction with OTA’s overall project on The Implications of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Medical Technology. By examining the 19 cases as a group and looking for common problems or strengths in the techniques of cost-effectiveness or cost-benefit analysis, OTA was able to better analyze the potential contribution that those techniques might make to the management of medical technology and health care costs and quality.
The Implications of Cost-Effectiveness Analysis of Medical Technology: Background Paper 2: Case Studies of Medical Technologies: Case 4: Cost Effectiveness of Automated Multichannel Chemistry Analyzers
A case study by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that "touches on only some of the aspects of technology assessment that might be undertaken with respect to multichannel chemistry analyzers" (p. 7).
Coal Exports and Port Development
A report by the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) that looks at federal policies that affect coal exports and port development and finds that "sizable increases in future U.S. coal exports are achievable if the Federal Government and the private sector complement the efforts of each in encouraging these exports and if present trends are not drastically altered by developments in other exporting and importing countries" (Preface).